WiSTEM2D returns for second year at UL

Pictured: University of Limerick students Janice O'Gorman, Jessica Silva and Niamh Sheahan

14 September 2017

Johnson & Johnson and University of Limerick have entered the second year of their Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design (WiSTEM2D) project.

Student research carried out at UL during Year 1 of the WiSTEM2D programme highlighted that in 2016/2017 female students accounted for just 26% of undergraduates in the Science and Engineering faculty. The study also found that less than 6% of female students opted for Electronic and Computer Engineering, 9% for Computer Science, 18% for Financial Mathematics, and 35% for Environmental Science.

UL is the only Irish university chosen to participate in the WiSTEM2D global initiative which focuses on the importance of peer networking and mentoring support.

“The research outputs from the first year of the WiSTEM2D programme identified a lack of female role models in STEM-related fields and confirmed that men outnumber women in most STEM careers,” said to UL President Dr Desmond Fitzgerald.

“Of particular concern, however, is that female students participating in the study reported feeling isolated in male-dominated classes and, perhaps most worryingly, females’ perception of their own intelligence was poor, even though their grades were equal to those of their male counterparts.

“We need to build on these findings, which mirror other national research, and affect change in order to attract women into STEM courses.”

Mark Benson, VP supply chain, consumer medical devices at John & Johnson, said: “Recognising that increasing female participation in STEM subjects remains a global challenge and women are greatly under-represented in the STEM workforce in Ireland, we are very excited to be partnering with the University of Limerick to help close these gaps and build the professional STEM talent pipeline At J&J, diversity and inclusion is a core tenet of our management philosophy.”

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